Being a disciple and honest follower of his ideology in practical life too, Sathyaraj was the right choice for the role of Periyar. In the first few scenes, one finds it hard to relate Sathyaraj with the image of the great leader. But after his Kaasi Yatra scene, he has really lived the role of Periyar. It won't be an exaggeration to say that no other actor has got the looks which perfectly match with that of the real Periyar. By using his mimicry talents, the actor has recreated the actual voice of the leader and added more credibility to the role. In fact, this is the only film which has earned high regards from all the quarters for Sathyaraj after the classic 'Vedham Puthithu'. His name might as well figure in the list of National Awards for best acting for the year 2007!
It is a pleasant surprise to see Jyothirmayee in the character of Nagammai, the first wife of Periyar who made people understand the true meaning of the word 'life partner'. S.S. Stanley has played the role of Anna and Arthikumar as Rajaji. Both deserve high praises.
The intimacy shared between Rajaji and Periyar, though they had different ideals, and Gandhiji's respect for Periyar among others, has been narrated well on the screen. There is nothing special in Vidhyasaagar's music. He could have come up with a more soulful composition for a film like Periyar. Thankar Bachaan's outstanding performance in cinematography and Lenin's crisp editing has made the film more enjoyable. And Vairamuthu... if he were to write poems like this during the time of Periyar, he would have patted him with high praises. What fantastic lyrics he has delivered depending upon the situations in the film!
Anil Muthugil Raman pottathu Kodugal enral
Appadi Illanna Seethayai Raaman Thodave illaiyah!
This is a small piece of example of hard hitting lyrics written by Vairamuthu against the blind beliefs prevalent in the society.
Periyar... is not an ordinary cinema. Watching the movie is the real homage to the leader who dedicated his entire life in providing succour and hope to the downtrodden people.
Verdict: An extraordinary film about a great leader!